S.O.A.P.ing the Scriptures has become my preferred way, and now habit, of studying God’s Word. I find that it not only enhances my time with Him but leads me to a greater understanding of the specific passage and of who He is. However, I have found that, as with any habit, it can sometimes become a rote routine rather than a time of truly looking intently into the Word of God.
Have you ever played the game where you are shown an array of items and asked to remember what is there? You are given just a certain amount of time to study what you see and then asked to list as many items as you can after they have been taken away from your sight. Perhaps if there are very few items a quick glance might be all that you need, but most often the game includes a vast array of items all piled together and you need to study rather than glance. As I S.O.A.P.ed today’s Scripture, Romans 5:15, I was reminded me of two things – one, that game – and two, I needed to slow down and really look at the passage before me.
A quick glance achieved restating the verse as best as I could under the ‘Observation’ section of the journal. There’s nothing really wrong with that, I’ve done it before and it’s worked. However, this time I noticed when it came to the ‘Application’ section of the journal page I struggled with what to write. The long and short of what I realized is this morning I hadn’t really been looking carefully and attentively into God’s Word, I had merely glanced. Perhaps out of familiarity with the passage or maybe out of rote habit, the reason isn’t important but the realization is. In this situation, it meant the difference in being able to apply God’s Word to my life or not, and that just wasn’t acceptable. So, I went back for another look. As with the game mentioned earlier, when the tray of items – or in this case – God’s Word was was looked at again, I was able to see what I had missed the first time.
This time my attentive observation yielded the treasure that the gift of grace, life through faith in Jesus Christ, is greater than the death that Adam’s sin brought upon all mankind. With this knowledge came the much clearer application that LIFE in Christ is better (greater, more desirable) than a life of sin. In other words, while the pleasure of sin may seem or feel more desirable the gift of life received through faith in Jesus is the more lasting (ETERNAL) pleasure. This prompted the visual: Grace>sin and with that visual came the real nugget of gold … Christ’s blood covers my sin with all of its guilt and shame! Yes, I already knew this TRUTH, but now I’m armed with it – fresh ammunition – so to speak. Should some temptation come my way or Satan’s fiery darts include guilt and shame I will be ready to stand firm!
As the application became clear the words from an old hymn started running through my mind. I’ve included them below. They are simple but profound and shared with the hope that they will be a blessing to all who read them.
Marvelous grace of our loving Lord, grace that exceeds our sin and our guilt, yonder on Calvary’s mount out-poured there where the blood of the Lamb was spilt. * Dark is the stain that we cannot hide. What can avail to wash it away? Look! There is flowing a crimson tide, whiter than snow you may be today. * Marvelous, infinite, matchless grace – freely bestowed on all who believe – you that are longing to see His face, will you this moment His grace receive? (*refrain) Grace, grace, God’s grace – grace that will pardon and cleanse within. Grace, grace, God’s grace – grace that is greater than all our sin.